What are the effects of social media on modern culture? Sure, some of them are obvious.
We are less private. We share a lot more information with strangers than we ever have in the past.
We air our grievances and opinions (and post party pictures of ourselves) without a second thought.
But are we really more isolated as a result of this high-speed, share-everything culture, rather than being closer to other individuals?
In an interesting article at the Canadian Marketing Blog (one of these wonderful sites you may never be exposed to except for the magic of Delicious’ front page) titled From Pop Culture to Peep Culture, the author tackles some of these questions and makes some good points.
The author writes that we are moving from Pop Culture to Peep Culture. Pop Culture is characterized by performers and celebrities entertaining us while we sit passively and watch. Peep Culture is entertainment found through sifting through people’s lives on the Internet through Youtube and Facebook. It’s scripted vs unscripted material.
The spotlight has turned to anyone and everyone. You mother can go viral. That kid you went to high school can become a world famous winning contestant on American Idol. Lines between celebrity and entertainment industry civilian are becoming very blurry.
What does this say about modern culture at large? The author of the piece, Merril Mascarenhas, claims that our very ideas of ultimate success are predicated on these fantasy notions of celebrity lifestyles.
Case in point: The Kardashians. What have these people done other than showcase a fantasy celebrity lifestyle? These people have no discernible talents (well, at least that I can see), yet have a huge media presence and make a lot of money. But what do they do other than let people see (highly controlled) parts of their lives through various TV shows and magazine interviews?
If you look back and see where the origins of Kim Kardashian’s “start” came (if you can trust the brief interview I heard of Ryan Seacrest talking to Perez Hilton) it was from a few pictures taken with celebutante Paris Hilton. Of course, Kim’s star really started to rise when a certain video was leaked online. From these humble beginnings, a media juggernaut was created that now includes her family and even recently extended to a couple of high profile athletes. We eat this stuff up.
It’s an interesting article that, rather than answers these questions, really just gets the conversation started. Well, except for the Kardashians part–that was my addition to the conversation.
Read it here: From Pop Culture to Peep Culture.